Sunday, 26 July 2015

Retro Review - Pokemon Snap (Nintendo 64)



Gotta Snap 'Em All

Pokemon.. Ah, Pokemon. Gotta catch 'em all etc. etc. Yep, you guessed it, I am not a fan. As a lifelong loather of all things anime, I found Pokemon about as appealing as a final demand letter from a debt collection agency. But I am clearly in the minority as it's a worldwide phenomenon that shows no signs of going away. Kudos to the creators, though, for finding a way to fleece kids the world over for 20 years now, as they attempt to acquire every one of the ever-expanding bestiary of irritating critters. Anyway, I recently found myself in possession of a Nintendo 64, and in between games of Goldeneye and Wave Race 64, I decided to try out Pokemon Snap (purely to check it worked, honestly). I never thought I would end up inexplicable hooked to the damn thing, playing it for days on end - even starting a new game so I could watch my girlfriend do her own play through.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Review - Letter Quest : Grimm's Journey (PC / Mac)


Casual gaming finally wins me over

I have never once considered myself a casual gamer - I would scoff at the 'noobs' playing gibberish like Farmville and Candy Crush, guffaw at the naivety of so-called gamers who wasted their time playing touch screen nonsense on their mobiles and tablets - titles usually involving nothing more complex than swiping your finger across the screen. But now I may have to reassess my views (well, not entirely, Candy Crush is still an abomination) due to one title, Letter Quest : Grimm's Journey.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Instant Remedy - Insert Disk 2 - Amiga Remix Album Out Now!


Instant Remedy - Insert Disk 2

Great news for fans of high quality remixes of classic videogame soundtracks : Instant Remedy's brand new album, Insert Disk 2 is now available for your listening pleasure! A follow up to his self titled debut album, Insert Disk 2 focuses on remixing classic Amiga game music, rather than those of the Commodore 64. The first album is one of my favourite videogame remix albums due to it's high quality production, thumping beats and and modernised versions of some of my favourite C64 melodies, so I was very excited to hear there would be an Amiga follow-up, and I have not been disappointed. 

Friday, 13 March 2015

New Toejam & Earl game in development! Kickstarter project needs your help!


Bring back the funk!

Whatup Yo? Erm...? Well, I was going to start with an amusing string of 'urban slang' as part of an introduction to this piece, but I suddenly realised how uncool I am and that I would end up sounding like Jessie from Breaking Bad ("Gatorade me, bitch!"). Anyway, gamers from the 16-bit era will know all about Toejam & Earl! Released on the Sega Mega Drive way back in 1991, this funky, exploration game was a breath of fresh air in a world populated by platformers and fighting games. A roguelike at heart, TJ&E tasked you with wandering around the cartoon landscape attempting to find pieces of your broken space ship whilst avoiding a selection of some of the most bizarre enemies ever seen in a videogame - rogue dentists, possessed mailboxes, giant hamster wheels and stampeding nerds to name but a few. Adding to the madness were unopened presents which, when opened, could grant you useful items such as speed-giving super hi-tops, extra health, icarus wings, or money. They could, unfortunately also contain deadly items such as enemies, rain clouds that would follow you, zapping you with lightning, or even instant death. The random nature of these presents, along with the randomised levels and ship piece placement resulted in a game with plenty of replay value. The two player split screen - which allowed both players to wander off and do their own thing - sealed the deal and Toejam & Earl went on to become a cult hit. 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Amiga Homebrew - Fire 'N Ice (Solomon's Key 2)


Underrated 8-bit puzzler gets 16-bit port

A new homebrew game for the Commodore Amiga is always reason to celebrate and this brand new port of a classic, yet little known, NES game is no exception. While many old school gamers will be familiar with classic platform puzzler Solomon's Key, not that many people realise that Tecmo released a sequel in 1993, entitled Fire 'N Ice, exclusive to Nintendo's 8-bit console. Released late in the life of the NES, Fire 'N Ice failed to make much impact as most people had moved onto the SNES. This makes finding a copy of the game difficult and very expensive these days, but thanks to emulation this doesn't stop you from playing it on your PC / PSP / Xbox or whatever other system you enjoy running emulators on (you naughty person!). Now you can also enjoy the game on your Amiga, as lone developer Hukka has ported it to everyone's favourite 16-bit home computer!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

REVIEW - Don't Die, Mr. Robot! (PlayStation Vita)


"Spoiler : You Will Die!"

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best - from a slice of bread fresh from the oven, to a cold beer on a hot day. This philosophy is carried across to the world of videogames, which is why classic 80's arcade games have such a strong following some 30+ years after their original release. While complex titles involving the use of more buttons than you would find in a helicopter cockpit have their place in gaming, it is the no frills, one or two button, easy to pick up & play titles that keep us enthralled for years - Just look at the roaring success of Rovio's Angry Birds and Namco's sublime Pacman Championship Edition DX for proof of this. Now there's another title that can be used as a perfect example of the 'simple = good' mantra - Infinite State Games' Don't Die Mr. Robot! on the PlayStation Vita.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Commodore Amiga Special - Modern Amiga Gaming - Gotek USB Floppy Drive

Modern Amiga gaming 

Gotek USB Floppy Drive Special

Recently I have been having a long overdue Amiga revival! For those of you who don't know (have you been living under a rock?) the Amiga is a 16-bit home computer made by Commodore and released way back in 1985. While originally released as a high end computer for business use (yawn) it wasn't long before it became known as a gaming machine thanks to its fantastic graphical capabilities and fun software. A couple of years later the most famous model of Amiga, the Amiga 500, was released and it cemented Commodore's machine as a home gaming platform bar none - It took PC games many years to catch up to the same level!